Sometimes I get up in the morning and have a quick browse through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or the like and can get distracted by an interesting article, which leads me into another interesting article, or maybe “googling” to find out more about the subject or a good discussion on a topical piece of news… Suddenly its lunchtime and I haven’t done anything “productive”!!

As a self-employed Virtual Assistant in the process of setting up my business, this is not necessarily a good use of my time….. so, as much as possible I try to follow good time management hints and tips…. Which I thought I would share with you…. so that if you find yourself in the same boat, you can try these methods out for yourself and hopefully you will find them useful or interesting… if not both…

So the first thing you need to do is make a list.. Each day, I get up and I make a list of the priority tasks that I want to achieve that day. These tasks normally come from a longer list that I add to each time I think of something else I would like to know more about…. As a “high achiever” who wants to understand everything, this list is getting longer, the more I read one of those interesting blogs, or get into a discussion on one of the forums I belong to…. However, the list is becoming more of “nice to have” in my tool box, rather than those things I have to have, if I’m going to be successful!

I review the list to make sure it is achievable and the easiest way to do this, is to think about how much time each task will take and then add a little slack, as they always take slightly longer than you expected. Then I prioritise that list. I like to get “doing” tasks out the way in the morning and then spend the afternoon on those that need more thought, or some research into how they are going to be achieved….but this obviously is personal preference, and so you need to think about what makes you most productive.

I also use the pomodora technique to stay focused on the task, but also allow myself some breaks, otherwise I get so involved, I forget to step away from the desk for 5 minutes to take some time out to think about how the task is progressing. This may be useful for you, if you do find yourself at the end of the day, without having moved out of your office..

If you do find yourself getting distracted, or procrastinating because you’re finding something difficult or boring, then using the pomodora technique or the mindfulness method to bring yourself back into the present helps you keep focused on the task at hand.

P1070253And when you do finally finish each task, don’t forget to reward yourself… and if you do find yourself distracted (and who wouldn’t be distracted by this lovely puppy)… don’t punish yourself.. just take 5 minutes out and then refocus.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings on time management and that it hasn’t taken you away from what you really should be doing…. If it has, then consider using some or all of the above tips.